The more things change, the more they stay the same

Today IBM and SUN announced that IBM would become the first Tier-1 distributor for Solaris. SUN are obviously excited about this, it gets them access to some excellent IBM System x (x86) hardware.

In the announcement, my boss, Bill Zeitler, head of IBM Systems Group also mentions that Sine Nomine and David Boyes and the effort to make OpenSolaris on the mainframe. I’ve known David for many years, back to the early Linux mainframe days and developments like this always remind me of the interesting debate we had with SUN then. David posted on the Sine Nomine web site here. I’m sure if it can be made to work effectively, David will get it done.

The first question came up over the relationship with AIX. Bill says its about custonmer choice and open interoperability in the marketplace and later when Ashley Vance from the Register asked about running Solaris on System p, the answer was we are not doing anything

Jonathon Schwartz remarked that mainframes “set the Gold Standard for virtualization with logical partitions” and “Linux support on mainframes gives customers and outstanding set of options”.Which of course is what I was saying back in 2001. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ashley Vance, in his write-up, I think got slightly over excited in what was little more than a comment by Bill on customer choice. The real question is what will software vendors do here? For x86 it’s not such a big deal since one Solaris x86 binary should run on any other x86 Solaris platform, but on other platforms such as System z and other non-x86 compatible platforms it’s another binary to support, more testing to do etc. Disappointed that none of the analysts thought to ask that, or for that matter if Solaris were available on POWER hardware why SUN would bother with their own UNIX hardware. Oh well 😉

There is a replay of the IBM/SUN conference call here.

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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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